The trio of Gon, Killua, and Bisuke finally start clearing Greed Island in this week’s episode of Hunter X Hunter 2011 titled “Strategy X and X Scheme” as the Spider realizes its ultimate goal and an impending game duel between the groups of the Bomber and Tsezugera will potentially decide which group will lead with the most designated cards collected.
Killua breezes through the hunter exam with an impressive first phase win, trumping new and familiar faces with playful but ruthless efficiency. As soon as he returns to the game, the trio of decide to use a spell card, but finds a familiar name on their list of Greed Island contacts: Chrollo Lucifer, the powerful specialist nen user and leader of Genei Ryodan. Killua leaves the game to inform Kurapica, who assures him that he would know if his nen chain had been purged. We see a glimpse of a soon-to-be ruined Light Nostrade, powerless in the face of the loss of his daughter’s special prediction ability. Meanwhile, the Spider members in the game – indirectly assisted by Hisoka and spearheaded by resident gamer and whiz kid Shalnark – galvanize their ultimate goal of finding a Nen user to purge the Nen curse set upon their leader. Gon, Killua, and Bisuke start collecting designated cards, had the opportunity to perform their very first card exchange, and are seen busy collecting important in-game items like the Paladin’s Necklace and Risky Dice intended to help players win cards. In other areas of the island, the Bomber’s group bullies other players to obtain cards via Lottery, and is contacted by Tsezugera’s group for a potentially advantageous card exchange. The Bomber’s group decides to take advantage even further by devising a cunning plan to use two special items at once that will allow them to steal more cards from Tsezugera’s group during the exchange that will take place.
The 2011 remake of the classic Hunter X Hunter is known for its brisk pace – but this may have backfired in recent episodes. The breakneck pace with which audiences were sent through the hunter exam straight to the Zoldyck mansion, up into the Heavens Arena and hurtling through Yorkshin City suddenly lost its momentum when Gon and Killua started training under Nen Master Biscuit Krueger. While the training was in and of itself very interesting and informative in the sense that it divulges the intricacies of nen mastery, it also effectively paused the two boys’ adventures.
Though the timing was perfect and the pause is justified given the circumstances, the last few episodes of Hunter X Hunter 2011 still felt lacking perhaps owing to less and less activity from the energetic Gon and cool-as-ice Killua. The storytelling was helped along by other characters and their developments in the real world and the game, but the audience’s focus on the two boys indirectly made the series stop nearly dead in its tracks – and this is just because of the last two or three episodes; that’s the side-effect of the pacing, it would seem. Luckily, this episode promises more Greed Island fun for the trio in the future and more intrigue and heated duels thanks to advances by the Genei Ryodan (plus Hisoka) and the Bomber’s group.
Of course, watching even rather underwhelming events unfold in Hunter X Hunter is made more than bearable by Madhouse’s vision and direction. Killua’s instant hunter exam pass was thrilling to watch – the whole 15 seconds of it. The trio’s adventures collecting cards were interesting, with their training proving to be more than enough to collect several A Rank cards in a row. The potential for more Genei Ryodan action transforms the game arc into something more exciting, and the trouble brewing between the leading groups in the game will definitely make for interesting developments. How will Gon, Killua, and Bisuke fit into the card collecting race? Will they meet the Spider again sooner than they think? Will they be sufficiently prepared if they ever meet the Bomber?
The next episode preview promised that the arc was nearing its climax. Here’s to hoping that the climax will be well worth the wait.[By G Dino]